Bicester came agonisingly close to their opening victory of the season when they were beaten 25-24 away at Wallingford.
Though the home side dominated the early stages, storming into a 15-0 lead after just 24 minutes, Bicester fought back well and a last-gasp try appeared to have earnt them the victory, but Andy King’s seemingly straightforward conversion attempt sailed wide in the final minute and his side had to be content with two bonus points.
Phil Dawes’ 10-metre penalty goal put Wallingford in front after 10 minutes and, five minutes later, following a Bicester error, the hosts spread the ball wide for full-back Dan Sadler to touch down in the corner.
Wallingford continued to dominate the opening exchanges and went further in front through winger Henry Wiltshire’s try and Dawes’ conversion.
Finally Bicester got a foothold in the game as scrum half Mike Harris’ neat pass to Dave Behan sent Chris Harley sailing through a gap in the defence for his side’s first try.
Andy Cook added the extras but Dawes slotted over another penalty to put Wallingford 18-7 ahead at half-time.
After the interval, some powerful driving by Bicester’s Tom Horwood, Ryan Gallacher and Matt Dye culminated in Harris plunging across the try line for a second score, again converted by Cook.
Bicester then began to take a firm grip on the game and a kicked penalty to touch resulted in a driven line-out that saw Dan Spencer put Matt Dye over in the corner to give Bicester the lead for the first time in the match.
Back came Wallingford, though, as Sadler scampered under the posts for his second try to put the home side into a 25-19 lead.
With just minutes remaining, Bicester poured forward in search of a converted try that’d snatch victory, and they seemed to have found it when Dave Aslett went racing past several home defenders to touch town next to the posts, but Cook inexplicably missed the conversion to gift victory to Wallingford.
Bicester return to league action next week when they host close rivals Alchester.
Elsewhere, Bicester IIs beat Wallingford IIs 39-12 after Jake Sawyer scored two tries while the IIIs defeated Wheatley 36-22.